Categories Menu

Recent articles

Patch a Day Challenge

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 | 3 comments

Anton’s “first day” patch

Anton Woldhek, whose name you may recognize from the Game Audio Podcast, is a little excited for this month’s theme. So excited, in fact, that he wants people to join him in a “patch a day” challenge. I think it’s a great idea, though I’m doing a bit too much traveling at the moment to probably get started on it until next week (though I suppose my Pure Data Wavetable Synthesizer tutorial from last year could qualify). You, however, can certainly join in now. To make it a little easier to share your results with each other, let’s use the hashtag #dspatchaday on twitter. While you’re getting started why not head over to Anton’s personal page and check out the results of this first patch (pictured above)?!

Really looking forward to see what people come up with!

Synthesis!

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 | 1 comment

image by flickr user f4dd, used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

image by flickr user f4dd, used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

As you may have already realized based on yesterday’s article post, we’ve turned over to this month’s theme…Synthesis!

We have more tools than ever that fall under this heading, and there’s been a huge resurgence in modular systems recently. We’re not going to focus exclusively on modular, but I chose that image because of how our friend Ivo Ivanov of Glitch Machines has described it. “It’s like crack for audio people. Once you get in, it’s just a pit you throw all of you money into. You can’t ever stop.” While modular certainly seems to do that, it doesn’t hold exclusive reign. We’re constantly buying software synths, building patches in Max/Kyma/Pure Data, downloading new instruments for NI’s Kontakt player…the list goes on. There’s a reason we do though. Synthesis has long been an indispensable tool to the sound designer; whether it be Ben Burt designing robot voices for R2-D2 and Wall-E, or Skip Lievsay creating the unnaturally long ring of reception desk bell in Barton Fink. So this month, we’re giving Synthesis its due.

As always, Designing Sound encourages contributions from the community. Next month we’ll be discussing documentaries. If you have something you’d like to share with the community on either topic, or on one completely unrelated to them, please contact [shaun {at} this website (dot) org].

SFX Independence – September 2014 (Part 2)

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 | 0 comments

Part 2 of our September roundup comes a little late (Part 1 is here in case you missed it), but there’s plenty of interesting and unusual independent sound libraries to be found here. And don’t forget, if you’ve got a recently-released sample library that you’d like to be considered for inclusion, use the Independent SFX submission form to tell us about it!

Gateway Part 1 – The Library by Empty Sea

Empty Sea present their new library of doors, doors and more doors! From tiny compartments to creaky gates. In all, 675 files and 1200 sounds all recorded at 96 KHz / 24bit.

Released: September 2014
Price: $80.00

Gateway Part 1 product page
The Library by Empty Sea webpage

Shadowscapes – Moon Echo Audio

Moon Echo Audio’s latest library taps into the dreamy, dark and unnerving. Presenting 12 moody soundscapes designed to “embrace the decay of human society”. Each of the soundscapes – with varying durations of between 1-2 minutes – comes as a 48KHz / 24bit file and has been created using a variety of techniques such as granular synthesis, pitch shifting and complex delays.

Released: September 2014
Price: $69.00

Shadowscapes product page
Moon Echo Audio webpage

Gorification (HD) – Timothy McHugh

gorification-hd

Gorification (HD) is an extensive collection of high-impact gore. Featuring over 1200 sounds of violence; from bone crushing to blood splatting and knife wielding to skin slashes.

Released: August 2014
Price: $35.00

Gorification (HD) product page
Timothy McHugh webpage

Bells & Bowls – Hzandbits

hzandbits-bells-and-bowls

A collection of glass, ceramic objects and bell-like sounds recorded 86 96KHz / 24bit.

Hzandbits have created 14 bell-like sounds, each multisampled and tuned to its nearest note, using source material such as bowls, glasses and vases. This library is ideally suited to taking these sounds further, using whichever combination of today’s sampling tools take your fancy.

Released: September 2014
Price: $18.00

Bells & Bowls product page
Hzandbits webpage

Big Piggy SFX Vol. 1 – Piggysounds

What you get is 114 high quality sound effects divided into 11 categories, including; ambience, Foley, sci-fi, suspense FX and whooshes. All sounds were recorded at 48KHz / 24bit and come with a PDF for database management.

Released: September 2014
Price: $150.00 digital download or $170.00 on a USB stick

Big Piggy SFX Vol. 1 product page
Piggysounds webpage

Universe Bundle – SoundMorph

YouTube Preview Image

Here it comes! Universe is a bundle featuring all SoundMorph products since the beginning of time. Developed by some of the leading Sound Designers and Musicians working within the industry, the Universe bundle represents a significant saving when set against individual purchases.

10,000+ sfx samples and three flagship software apps, Universe comes with an extra option that will entitle you to a year of free upgrades.

Released: September 2014
Price: $699.00 or $899.00 for the +365 version with 12 months of upgrades free.

Universal Bundle product page
SoundMorph webpage

Wind Turbines – Detunized

Detunized introduce a library pack of showcasing the sound of wind farms. Available as either a standard BWAV edition of 124 48KHz / 24bit recorded takes, or Ableton Live Pack (versions 8 or 9 only), Wind Turbines includes a whole host of ambiences, propeller blades, transformer stations and other mechanical noises.

Released: September 2014
Price: €15.00

Wind Turbines product page
Detunized webpage

Organic Percussion – Delectable Records

DGS-Organic-Percussion-1000

An impressive ensemble of production tools from Delectable Records. Featuring House beats mixed with groovy percussions including Congas, Timbales, Bongos and much more! Perfectly suitable for House, Percussion, Deep House, Funky House, Dance, Tribal House, and Soulful productions, there are 10 Constructions Kits designed and made exclusively for Delectable Records by Gennaro Rino Becchimanzi.

Available in Zip, WAV & Apple Loops format, Organic Percussion contains over 230 Percussion sounds that will enrich your rhythmic tracks instantly.

Released: September 2014
Price: £19.95

Organic Percussion product page
Delectable Records webpage

Rain and Thunder – 99Sounds

Rain And Thunder is a free collection of field recordings that were captured during a severe storm in Belgrade, Serbia.

Featuring recordings from both outdoor and indoor perspectives, the library is completely free to download and use.

Released: October 2014
Price: FREE

Rain and Thunder product page
99sounds webpage

100% Synthesized SFX for Stylized Realism in Games

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 | 1 comment

Guest Contribution by Alex May

If you were born in the 70’s or 80’s and played video games, you’ll no doubt have fond memories of the early days of game audio when consoles were incapable of playing back more than basic pulse waves or noise. All sounds had to be forged from these primitives, and game SFX were rarely even slightly reminiscent of anything actually real. Now, however, realistic sound is only as far away as your portable recorder or favourite sound library. Realism in sound has become accessible to the point of it being often considered a given; a basic assumption of the art.

Enter the idea of “100% synthesized SFX”. This is a self-imposed workflow limitation that declares that all sounds for a project will be synthesized, and not recorded. Foley, vehicles, weapons, combat, ambience, UI, and in certain cases even voices; all produced with synthesizers.

Wait, all synthesized? What could we possibly gain from doing things in such an inefficient and impractical manner? Surely it makes better sense to use tools and methods that are appropriate for the results we’re after, right?

Well, yes, that is true. However, being that ultimately we’re aiming to produce sound that complements the visual style of the game, it may not always be the case that recorded real-world sources are the best fit. If the visual style has a strong character about it, then so should the sound. One method for achieving this character is to place limitations on the production process, and that is what this article discusses: limiting sound production to synthesis. By doing this we can achieve an overarching “stylized realism” that, when paired with equally stylized visuals, can contribute to a sense of immersion in the game world.

Let’s now take a look at some work practices for a 100% Synthesis approach. (more…)

Sonic Architecture

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Expo 1958 paviljoen van Philips

The Philips Pavilion, based on hyperbolic paraboloids originally used in Metastaseis musical piece by Iannis Xenakis

“Sound is a spatial event, a material phenomenon and an auditive experience rolled into one. It can be described using the vectors of distance, direction and location. Within architecture, every built space can modify, position, reflect or reverberate the sounds that occur there. Sound embraces and transcends the spaces in which it occurs, opening up a consummate context for the listener: the acoustic source and its surroundings unite into a unique auditory experience.”

OASE

The spatial metaphor

Over the years, the relationship and analogy between music/sound art/sound design and architecture has been explored in several aspects. In the same way architecture works over the solid materials, visual spaces, geometry, abstract realities or social contexts, it does over the aural realities, the sonic dimension. When it comes to space, sound can be valued in an architectural process, just as architecture is also sonic.

Although when it comes to music, there has been a discussion on the validity of the analogy between the musical space and that of architecture, and there’s also some way of relating both concepts in the role of sound design, since it doesn’t rely in a fixed language as some music is, and it’s always open to the contexts in which it evolves or in which it is developed, such as a film. Space in terms of sound design is immensely important, both in terms of the visual/outer spaces projected in a particular audiovisual medium, but also in the inner, abstract or invisible faculties of a piece like a film or a videogame, thus introducing the possibility of creating architecture with aural elements in the same way the visual aspect creates its own spaces and objects. (more…)

Spaces From Noise

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 | 0 comments

white-noise2

Impulse responses are great for recreating spaces, whether it is a resonant glass bottle or a large cave. Here’s a handy a trick for sculpting your own impulse responses, and therefore your own reverbs, from something that we spend a lot of time getting rid of — noise!

If you listen to an impulse response by itself, you’ll find that it has noise-like qualities, except the frequency response changes over time. This isn’t surprising as sine sweeps and pistol shots are representations of bursts of noise.

For the examples below, I’ve used Logic’s Space Designer, but this technique is possible with any convolution reverb. The white noise samples were processed in Logic, bounced out as a wav file and then dropped into Space Designer’s interface. [Space Designer's dry level was set to 0dB and wet level to -6dB with filter and volume envelopes bypassed]

Here’s an example of a white noise sample that was about 1.5 seconds long with an exponential fade out. The samples below include the dry noise sample (watch your speaker/headphone level) followed by the convolved output (apologies for the rather sad drum loop).

Noise_Dry_Fade

(more…)

SFX Independence – September 2014 (Part 1)

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 | 1 comment

It has been a little while since the last SFX Independence post. So many new sfx libraries have come to our attention during that time that this roundup comes in two parts, designed to make it more digestible. Part 2 will follow later in the week.

Our aim is to provide readers information about the best and most innovative independent sound effects library available, so if you’d like your recently-released library to be considered for inclusion in the next roundup, all you need to do is fill in the Independent SFX Library submission form.

Tim Nielsen – Yellowstone

The Yellowstone SFX Library comprises 120 stereo tracks, recorded at 96/24 by supervising sound editor and sound designer Tim Nielsen. This 8GB pack of sounds from the Yellowstone geothermal volcano in Wyoming, USA, includes giant geysers, bubbling mud pots, fumaroles, hot springs, water streams and more.

Recorded using a SoundDevices 722, using Schoeps MS rig (CMC6 XT extended frequency bodies with an MK41/MK8 Capsule setup) and a Telinga Stereo Parabolic microphone.

Released: August 2014
Price: $50.00

Tim Nielsen on IMDB
Sonic Salute

(more…)

The Making Of Thunderstorm 3 SFX Library Part 1

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Guest Contribution by Frank Bry

In this article I will reveal my secrets and techniques to recording decent thunder and lightning. Many, many years and sleepless nights have gone into perfecting the art of recording the thunderstorm and I will finally share. But first, I want to share a little history and tell you how I developed these secrets and techniques. It was not so easy at first and here’s the story I’m still alive to tell. Part 1: Live and Learn. (more…)

Sound Design Inspiration from Outer Space

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 | 5 comments

YouTube Preview Image

A few months ago I came across a Twitter post made by Stephan Schütze (a recent Designing Sound contributor) that continues to resonate with me (no pun intended) and I wanted to share it with anyone in the sound design community that has yet to hear these sounds.

As a side note, Stephan’s tweet was unrelated to his Designing Sound contribution (which can be found here) that he wrote for our monthly theme dedicated to Vehicles.

The original Twitter post was for an article entitled:

NASA Probes Record Sounds In Space – And It’s Terrifying.

I was immediately enthralled as soon as I heard the sounds. Opposed to my previous beliefs, outer space actually does produce sound, and the sounds are quite remarkable.

(more…)